Rozi Rahman, who learned to ride a bike when she was 10 years old, is now 42. A wife and mother in the province of Putrajaya, Malaysia, Rozi rode her bike right up to the moment when she went to boarding school at the age of 16.
“I stopped riding when I was in boarding school, throughout my university years I also didn’t ride, ” Rozi said. “After graduation I started working, and later I got married and had kids of my own, and still I didn’t ride. It was a good 24 years between bike rides.”
Conventional wisdom says women find more more roadblocks to urban biking than men do. That’s in part because women, whether they work full-time or not, tend to assume more of the responsibility for home and child care.
Those responsibilities can also mean more daytime driving, and less time to figure out how to fit biking into a busy schedule.
Many women who biked when they were young girls, pre-teens or even teenagers lose the joy of cycling when life gets busy and family responsibilities crowd in. Thus women-supportive bike groups can help women re-discover a love of cycling. We think that’s an important part of making biking safer and more accessible to all.
As a New Year’s Resolution in 2013, Rozi decided, as many do, to get in better shape and shed some extra weight. She started walking to build some stamina, and then she pulled her husband’s unused bike out of its hiding place in their home.
“I thought I’d put in some mileage on that bicycle,” Rozi says.
She felt lucky that while out on her very first ride she met up with a group of cyclists who ride regularly in her region. The group, Putrajaya Urban Riders, invited her to ride with them.
“On an unfamiliar bicycle that was obviously not my size, I struggled to catch up with the group,” Rozi said. “I was fumbling with the gears and with the brakes. But I was hooked.”
Rozi decided last year to invest in her own Brompton bike, and she does ride with the Putrajaya group, but she also found that it was most convenient for her to ride during the week.
“As I get fitter, I find every excuse to go out cycling and do solo rides during the weekdays between my kid’s playgroups,” Rozi said. “After seeing that I ride regularly, my husband and I invested in [the] Brompton, and now we have 2 folding bikes and we ride together when we get the time.”
In Malaysia, hot weather is one of the main things that keeps Rozi from riding more, and she says that is the same with many of the women she rides with. Thus she starts the group rides that she leads in the early morning, if possible. As many of her group of women are Muslim the and ride with a headscarf, helmet ventilation is of prime importance.
Rozi’s group of morning riders can be 12 to 15 strong, and they are known to have fun biking in Putrajaya on 15 kilometer rides around the region.
As a DIY crafter, sewing expert and jewelry maker, Rozi loves the extra graphic style of her Nutcase helmet.
She also encourages women that ride with her to get a folding Brompton, because of the convenience and the ability to easily fold and stow the bike. Putrajaya, Rozi says, has developed some excellent biking routes, and she loves the camraderie.
“It’s more fun to ride with a friend than to ride alone – and it’s undeniable that cycling brings out the kid in us all.”
Nutcase is a pretty Portland-y company – born and bred in this bike-friendly Oregon city we call home. But we LOVE to see Nutcases on city streets and offroad paths around the world. Telling your stories is one of the big reasons we started this blog. Got a good tale of why a Nutcase helmet is special to you?
Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org